How Hormones Affect Our Marriages

Hormones -Dollarphotoclub_60348804.jpg

You’ve probably heard the joke that’s been going around concerning hormones and PMS. It goes like this, “What’s the difference between a woman with PMS and a Doberman?” The answer? “Lipstick.”

And then there’s Menopause that has to be dealt with, in the later stages of life. There are a whole host of “upsets” that come with adjusting to this hormonal stage. As they say, if you don’t laugh, you may cry. So here’s Chonda Pierce, to give her take (that may or may not make you laugh) on this matter in a YouTube piece titled:

MENOPAUSE PARKING

Our first instinct may be to laugh at these “jokes.” But if you’re the one going through a hormonal change, or you’re the husband, it’s no joking matter. It’s a pretty serious subject.

Hormonal Fluctuations

There are a lot of things competing to sabotage your relationship with your spouse. Some of them are emotional. Others are spiritual. And some of them are physical challenges that we need to work with and around. One of them is a wife’s fluctuating hormone level (if she is one who experiences this phenomenon).

“It’s not a subject most people like to discuss, but PMS or Pre Menstrual Syndrome can wreak havoc on relationships. This is especially true when it is not recognized. Despite what many people seem to think, hormonal fluctuations throughout a woman’s cycle can be as hard on her as they seem to be on the people in her life.” (Sherry Holetzky)

Hormonal fluctuations can be something that attacks our bodies. But it these fluctuations also attack our emotions and our intimacy on so many levels. It’s something that’s difficult for others (particularly our husbands) to understand if they haven’t experienced this in their own bodies.

My Experience

I’ll never forget a number of years ago, something that happened, when our sons were younger. I came to the realization that I was anything but a pleasant person when my menstrual cycle came around. So I thought I’d do my husband and two sons a “favor” by explaining that I would give them a “warning” when I was feeling tense. For their own good, I advised them to tread lightly for a while. I thought this would be a merciful act.

I remember well, one time when I gave the men of our household a warning to please ease up on their noise level. It was also important for them to be carful about not teasing me. I knew I didn’t have much patience, nor much of a sense of humor at that point. I was struggling to “keep it together” and I needed their help to do so. And that’s what I told them.

Our one son didn’t take my warning seriously. This was apparent because he proceeded to start teasing me right then and there. I immediately “lost my cool” and started screaming. I’ll never forget how he looked at me. All the color drained out of  his face and he looked absolutely shell-shocked. He just mumbled, “I guess you were serious … sorry!”

Yep! I was, and I can tell you that in the future whenever I gave out my polite warning, no one tested my seriousness after that! That incident help us to come to an agreement that warnings were to be taken seriously.

An Idea

One woman writes a solution she’d like to see happen:

“If I was going to invent something for the good of mankind I know exactly what it would be. It would be a pill for men that would let them experience all of our worst PMS symptoms. The trouble is, I fear my plan would backfire. Instead of making them understand what we go through so they’d be more sympathetic, it’d be my luck to give [my husband] the pill and he’d expect me to cater to him. ‘Bring me the heating pad. Get me another Advil. Tuck me in for my nap.'” (Courtney Mroch)

Isn’t that the truth? As much as we may want sympathy and understanding on a different level, it could backfire in various ways. This is especially true for the one who isn’t acting in an “understanding” way.

Another complication caused by these fluctuating hormones, happens to those who are prone towards depression and anxiety.

“While the symptoms of PMS are very familiar to many women, those who have a history of anxiety and depression or who currently suffer from anxiety and depression may notice that the changing hormonal levels during the month bring about increased emotional problems. The week before menstruation is well-known by women. But it is feared by men as being the most emotionally difficult week of the month. That makes for twelve to thirteen ‘difficult’ weeks per year for women of childbearing age.” (Beth McHugh)

Articles to Help

Actually, it doesn’t end there. Even those who are getting beyond childbearing age battle with “difficult weeks.” And there are even years when Pre-menopause and Menopause comes into play. (Somehow the word “play” doesn’t seem like the appropriate word, does it?)

To help us deal with these problems and attacks on our bodies, minds and marriages, below are several links to various web sites. They have articles posted on this subject. To read them and apply what works for you, please click onto the links below:

HORMONES AND BEHAVIOR

DEALING WITH P.M.S.

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.

If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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Filed under: For Married Women Mental and Physical Health

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Comments

5 responses to “How Hormones Affect Our Marriages

  1. My wife in the past year has fallen out of love with me. She is 45 and is going through changes. I was wondering if this could be due to hormones and menopause. She is getting a appt with her doctor this week to see if this is due to her hormones. I would like to hear some feedback.

    1. I am sure your wife has not fallen out of love with you. When we go through these changes, we feel very bad about ourselves. We tend to retreat. We shut down so to speak. It is so hard dealing with all of these ups and downs that that is our defense mechanism. I can tell you from experience that this is the most difficult time of my life…these hormone changes. I don’t know which way is up half the time. My husband hasn’t a clue how to approach me or talk to me for that matter. It is putting a definite strain on things. Which then makes things that much harder.

      Your wife should get the levels checked so you know what you are dealing with. Be there for her through all of the crazy.

  2. I’m tired of my husband not fulfilling my sexual needs…he said it is because I’m constantly attacking him verbally, and belittling him for not satisfying my needs???? Well????

  3. My wife had a hysterectomy against my, and other peoples’ advice, and now three years later, she is absolute h311 to deal with. It’s like flipping a coin. One day I get a somewhat nice wife, and other days she whales on me calling me every name in the book, and letting me know that I’m the reason for all of her problems. I have been tempted many times to give up, to leave, and to never come back. But, just as I have made up my mind, she comes around with the sweet attitude (momentarily), and makes things better for a short time. I’m really at my wit’s end with her, and we’ve been through the (HRT) Hormone Replacement Therapy thing for over two years now. Things haven’t really improved, to include her getting physical with me once (which I didn’t call the police about, and now almost wished I had). She yells, screams, and I just take it most of the time. Other times, I’ve had enough, like when this type of episode goes on for a straight month or more.

    I have been well acquainted for many years with her per-hysterectomy hormones, and now I refer back to that as the “days we used to get along and acted like a married couple should.” I cannot talk to her about her issue(s), as she doesn’t want to hear it. And when we have talked about it, she finds a way to deflect it back on to me. I do the majority of cleaning around the house, and I try to pick up the slack wherever I can. It goes unnoticed, and as of today, I am feeling really used and unappreciated. I’m not even going to get into detail about the sex drive thing. It has dwindled down to nothing, and my sex life is a miserable mess now. Things were fun before the hysterectomy, and now it’s boring, lame and I’m uninterested half the time. Forget your favorite positions, places, etc. It’s like a chore now, and who wants to have sex with someone who has no interest? Definitely not me.

    While I would normally advise men to try to comfort and support their hormonal wives, at this point, my philosophy is that if I have to walk on egg shells and hold back things I should be saying, then she should too. It would be different if this were a monthly cycle thing, but it isn’t. I’m a dude, and I could take the one week per month thing. This is definitely not that minuscule. It has flipped things around 180 degrees. I now have 7 days or less per month that she treats me like a human being, and the other three weeks are like having a constantly PMS’ing woman around.

    The point to this is, no matter the intensity of what women go through for PMS, they too should be held accountable for their actions to some degree. After all, they don’t get a free pass to go murder someone or rob a bank just because of their hormones. This same ideology applies in the marriage/relationship as well. I have seen my wife be so nice to her own son while sitting at the dinner table, and be a completely different person to me sitting in the next chair over. This means, if she can adjust her attitude for her own son, then she can adjust her attitude for her own husband as well. This is true for all women, not just my wife.

    Sometimes, I do believe we have devolved so much as a society that we don’t hold the overly-hormonal women accountable for their actions, and as a result, they just expect more and more from men in regard to tolerance to this mess. While I feel deeply sorry for any women who has to endure PMS, I do feel that some women (like in my case) have gone completely overboard with the PMS excuse (using it way past it’s full potential to get away with things they normally wouldn’t). I’m ending this paragraph by saying, every situation is different. Mine just happens to be a severe one.

    In the end, my advice is, if your girlfriend wants a hysterectomy, keep her as your girlfriend for a few more years and observe. If she turns crazy, then at least you have an easy outage. It’ll only help her see how crazy she is acting. If you’re married and your wife wants a hysterectomy, beg, plead, scratch and fight tooth and nail for her not to get one. It will, in the end, ruin your marriage, or what you formally knew as marriage. I gave it more than a fair chance when the doctor told us “give it 6 months” and it’s now been three years, and two of that has been with HRT. At this point, I think most men would have quit already, but I refuse to be a statistic. I would prefer her to end it, so that I can say I gave it my best shot, and she made all the decisions that cost us/her a marriage while I attempted to be tolerant.

    I’m sure I’ll get a few hate responses from women about my comments, but this should serve as a reminder to women that men do have a breaking point and a certain tolerance level. When women exceed that level of understanding and tolerance, that’s when the problems really start. Before you think of replying to this thread and dogging me for what I’ve said, please consider your own actions as women when you’re hormonal. One day it could cost you your marriage, when on the other hand, you could have just held your tongue and stayed happily married. There are some really tolerant men in the world who do have compassion for their wives, and I’m one of them. I just really hate to see men being used as a door mat in situations like this, and at least those who oppose what I’m saying can’t dismiss it entirely.

    1. Dear Rizzle, I commend you for sharing your insights. I sometimes feel helpless in making my husband understand whats going on. He is distant, doesn’t talk to me with respect most times when were fighting, thinks I hate him, tells me I’m using the imbalance as an excuse, often says he doesn’t care because he is so fed up, probably also assumes I’ve changed and now this is who I am, which it isn’t etc…The most important thing that stood out from your post, was something he says to me all the time…”adjust your attitude”.

      Of course, having experienced this intense change over the past few months and researching it, made me feel that he was being unfair, overly critical, insensitive and was expecting me to ‘fix myself, with just my mind. Any woman can tell you that this kind of self therapy is incredibly difficult to accomplish(your mere thoughts are fighting back actual chemicals in the brain), especially because we feel not ourselves and feel ashamed that there are no quick fix solutions. No matter how many times I tell myself to chill out, calm down and not to yell at him….I fail miserably!! He might say something very sharply to me and then I would feel angry and hurt. Whether or not I’m right in assuming his tone or motive, it’s the way I’m feeling, at the given time.

      With that said, the example you offered about watching your wife with her son was a remarkable, if not small, eye opener. I too looked into myself and gathered that I was indeed being somewhat of ‘myself’ with others, over the phone and in person.
      I would imagine we can let our guards down with our spouses more than we can with others…in other words, we feel ashamed for anyone else to experience our wrath during PMS but are obviously subconsciously completely unguarded with our spouse. And this isn’t fair in the least to anyone living in the same house as us, during this rough time! I hear you. Why can’t we women TRY to treat our husbands the same we would, if we had to talk to someone else during our down period (excuse the pun)?

      I don’t have the answer to this but I can tell you that I love and respect my husband very much but sadly my actions and words before and during my period tells him otherwise. I hate having to explain all the time and I just end up looking like I’m making excuses. I’m doing everything physically possible (tons of vitamins, the pill, reading others experiences on websites such as these etc) because in a small way ( I say small, because we cannot ignore the actual biological makeup of an imbalance and how it affects pituitary gland in our brains), you and my husband might be correct in saying, it might be possible to TRY to adjust our mindset, the same way we quickly do when relating to others. I am most certainly going to try!!